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Feds still investigating 'exact source' of OPM hacks

Feds still investigating 'exact source' of OPM hacks
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The government is still investigating last summer’s massive hacks at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to determine the “exact source,” a top State Department official told lawmakers on Wednesday.

The digital intrusions, which exposed more than 20 million federal workers’ personal data, have been widely attributed to China. Administration officials have even hinted at this publicly while admitting it privately.

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But in response to a question from Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the government is still working to pin down the culprit.

“Trying to attribute the exact source of that intrusion is an ongoing effort,” he said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S.-China relations.

Perdue wanted to know whether some acknowledgement of the OPM hacks was a part of a cyber deal struck last September between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The agreement mainly served as a pact to eradicate digital espionage for commercial gain, but it also included a number of other commitments to better cooperate on cyber issues, which have been a major irritant between the U.S. and China in recent years.

Perdue pressed Blinken on whether any component of the deal related to the OPM hacks.

“I’m not recalling [anything], except other than to say we’ve made it clear to the Chinese that there are some actions in the cyber realm … that are too big to ignore, and certainly what happened with OPM would fall into that category,” Blinken said.

Perdue asked, “When do you think we’ll have a definitive report on what happened with that intrusion?”

Blinken was not able to give a specific timeline.